Episode 2 – This Mama Learns Growth Project


blog growth project 2

Hello, and welcome to the August blog traffic and income report! It’s the second in the This Mama Learns Growth Project series.

My name is Cath and I’m a freelancing, mom blogging, Pinterest loving gal from Oz. I started This Mama Learns as a way to make some money, keep me sane and simply, because I love blogging.

I should mention that the last time I blogged (and I use the word rather loosely) was in 2011, and oh boy, have things changed!

I’m now six-ish months into my blogging journey, and it hasn’t been without it’s hiccups. I made a lot of blog-crippling mistakes at the start that could’ve stopped my blog in its tracks (mainly from operating on old info).

But, I’m turning it around as of July 2016 and I’m now on the path to success! Want to follow along?

See where I started:

Let’s talk about August

August was a big month. Quite aside from chasing too many goals, I also had a one-year-old’s birthday party to think about. And I switched things up a bit and started pursuing more freelancing opportunities.

I also learned a little CSS – we’ve given each other side eye from opposite ends of the playground for a while now but haven’t come to blows… until now. Who won? Me of course! Yes, I finally managed to get my email subscriber form to popup if you click my sign up button. Having it redirect to a new page was beginning to bug me. Amateur hour is over.

So about the blog… Was there growth?

Yes, there was growth.

Did I meet my goals?

Not even close (for most of them). I had too many goals and felt pulled in too many directions.

And you know what? Doing goals like this does NOT work for me. So I’m not going to keep trying to do the same thing expecting different results.

Let’s be honest – a lot of my goals were irrelevant and not really even a goal. Some of it belongs more on a to do list than a goals list (I’m terrible at confusing the two.)

Also, I’ve been thinking about a lot of what I’m doing – why am I doing this? What results do I want from this? Is there a better way?

Not gonna lie – it feels nice to see the social media follows go up and page views increase but, by themselves, they don’t mean anything.

I could wake up tomorrow, follow 10,000 people across all my social media channels and know that about a quarter will follow me back. I’ll have increased my following by 2,500, but if they aren’t interested in reading my blog, what’s the point?

So. Here’s what we’re going to do. There are three areas I want to focus on:

  • Increasing blog traffic
  • Converting visitors to email subscribers
  • Growing Income

 

growth project 2

1. Blog Traffic

There’re five types of traffic:

  • Organic search traffic
  • Referral traffic
  • Direct traffic
  • Social Media Traffic
  • Paid Traffic

I’ve been focusing my efforts on social media traffic mostly with a little referral traffic on the side.

Social media traffic is easy to come by and easily understood – that’s people coming to my site because of my efforts promoting and growing my following on Pinterest, Twitter, Facebook and this month, Instagram. And, it’s working well. My social media traffic has skyrocketed.

Referral traffic takes a little more effort. The easiest way to generate more referral traffic is by blog commenting and guest posting. I’ve been finding blog commenting to be quite difficult – for some reason my laptop just dies whenever it sees an ad. It’s nice to know it agrees with me about ads, but it’s terribly inconvenient.

I’m going to continue to focus mainly on Social Media Traffic in September by:

  • Tweaking my Pinterest account and creating multiple pinnable images per post
  • Posting daily on Instagram
  • Promoting in Facebook Groups
  • Promoting on Twitter, on a schedule

Here’s the screenshot of my August’s traffic stats:

 

growth project 2 traffic

I’m glad to have reached a bit more consistency!

Goals:

  • Create a promotion checklist that all my posts go through, including a Twitter schedule and a Facebook Group promo schedule. (and offer it to my list as an exclusive bonus!)

Numerical goals:

  • Reach 5,000 page views
  • 4,000 Pinterest followers
  • 1,000 Instagram followers (on track so far!)
  • 1,000 Twitter followers

 

2. Converting visitors to subscribers

How do you convert people to subscribers?

  • Amazing blog posts.
  • ‘I’d crawl through the mud to get this’ freebies (content upgrades)
  • Events – challenges, webinars etc.
  • ‘Shouldn’t I be paying you for this?’ e-courses (lead magnet)

I’ve definitely lifted my game in the blog post arena. I struggle with images though – I don’t love using stock photos just to break up the text. But then again, I don’t mind it on other people’s blogs. Go figure.

I realize I didn’t say exactly how many subscribers I had last month. It was ~30. As of the end of August, I’m at ~130. Not a bad gain, and it’s definitely picking up speed.

This month I’m going to focus on converting visitors to subscribers by:

  • Launching an e-course lead magnet.
  • Setting aside time to work on new freebies and improve the current ones.
  • Planning for a webinar. I’m doing the Visibility Vixens Comfy on Camera 5 day challenge to get ready – I did my first Facebook Live today! Woo!

Goals:

  • Create an e-course workflow and launch plan that can be tweaked for later launches.
  • Hold a webinar.
  • Reach 250 subscribers.

 

growth project 2

3. Income

How do you make money from a blog?

  • Ads
  • Affiliate Links
  • Sponsored Posts
  • Selling products
  • Freelance services
  • Freelance coaching

In September, I plan to spend more of my attention on freelance writing and editing.

Why?

This is a very interesting one – when I first started reading blog income reports, you know what I found most useful? The very first income reports the blogger published. Because that’s what’s most relevant to me where I am right now.

It’s all very nice to look at the income report of a six figure blogger and dream of someday, but it’s not exactly helpful to my situation.

From reading a few of those first income reports I started noticing a trend – for a lot of these bloggers the majority of their income was coming from freelance services – writing, VA work, design work, social media. It wasn’t affiliate income, ads or selling products or sponsored posts.

I don’t mean this to be in any way discouraging but it’s important knowledge.

For me, freelancing means I can buy the time I need to turn this blog into a passive income money-making-machine. It means I can also invest in things for my blog (like a paid theme and tools like Tailwind) without having to stress about my budget.

I know a lot of moms start their blog with a budget of $0. But, a little freelancing side hustle can help get some cash going to invest in the essentials.

In August, I made a couple of posts containing affiliate links and made a small amount of money from them. This month I’m going to:

  • Put a tutorial or two on my editorial calendar – for either MailChimp, Tailwind or Trello.
  • Incorporate pitching for freelance jobs into my weekly routine.
  • Get my writer’s website up and running.

Now onto the numbers:

August 2016

Income

Recurring Affiliate Commission (Wealthy Affiliate) – $22.50

Tailwind Affiliate Commission – $18.98

Expenses

Write to 1K – $68

MailChimp – $10

(annual expenses not included)

Highlights of August

  • My Facebook Groups freebie was mentioned by Tammy at Jams and Scones.
  • One of my pins was pinned by Buffer!
  • One of my tweets was retweeted by Tailwind!
  • I pitched a guest post to Laura of Badass Business Mum and it should go live in the next few days 🙂

 

So that was my month. Hopefully these goals turn out to be more manageable!

How was your month?

 

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12 thoughts on “Episode 2 – This Mama Learns Growth Project”

  1. Thanks for sharing, I have just started a new blog and need to get more traffic to it. Will certainly work on the tips that you have suggested.

  2. Great report! Thank you for sharing the nuts and bolts of it all. It really helps us to see how things are done and how we too can get to where we want to be. Great work and I pray for much success for you! Oh, and cool photo!

  3. Cath, I love how detailed your report is!

    I’ve been struggling to comment on blogs as well recently with summer and the 101 things you need to take care of at home and with the blog 🙂

    You made a great observation about new blogger reports. Most of them who make income off their blogs those few months do offer a service and I learn a lot more from these reports than I do from those earning 6-figures.

    This is a timely post for me as I’m starting to work on publishing my first report after blogging for 6 months. You’ve given me some good ideas. Thank you! 🙂

    1. Thanks Meera 🙂 Yeah, it’s been tough to keep up with commenting. It also doesn’t help that a lot of blogs aren’t publishing quite so frequently either!
      I’m glad you liked the post. I’m still working through how I want to format it and what to report on and that sort of thing. I’m interested to read your six month report – I’ll have to keep an eye out for it! 🙂

  4. Cath!

    Awesome progress! I like how you broke down the different types of traffic. I’m in the same boat as you with having social media traffic my primary source of traffic on my blog. I want to boost my organic traffic and I’m trying to do that on the side.

    I like your main goals, they’re similar to mine and I like how you figured out the quickest way to earn income on your blog – offer a service. I’m debating offering a service on Twins Mommy, but really, who am I kidding? Ha.. I’m soo busy with client work that I have no time to blog on my blogs.

    Congrats on doing a Facebook Live! I’m starting to really like that feature on FB.

    Can’t wait to hear about how you’ll smash your goals next month!

    1. Hey Elna 🙂 Thanks for the kind words. My organic traffic has been pretty hit and miss – I wrote a review on a gamification/to-do list app ages ago and almost all my Google traffic is from that… it’s pretty much totally irrelevant to the message of my site, so I kind of feel sorry for the people who are landing here looking for that lol.
      Perhaps you could offer Pinterest graphic services? But then you’d be even busier, lol.

  5. Ugh, I have a problem with setting too many goals as well. There are just SO many things I want my blog to accomplish! But, your page views are growing so that is always a plus!!

    I need a Facebook group promo schedule in my life so badly. The master list was VERY helpful, but now I’m spending more time on FB than I should!

    1. Hey Kecia 🙂 I feel you – there’s sooo much I want to accomplish too. And I don’t know, when I sit down to plan and set goals I just think ‘yeah, I could do that’, ‘sure, add it to the list.’ And then I end up with a list of 20 massive goals… Honestly, I think I spent the first week or two of August in a freeze because it was all just too much.

      I will get on the Facebook group promo schedule asap. I need it too!!! And Facebook isn’t helping with that new ‘suggested group’ feature…

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